Autos In America: A 2018 Year-end Sales Roundup

Most manufacturers were awash in red by the end of 2018, either from the ink on their ledgers or the rose-colored glasses they were wearing while trying to assure themselves that all was well. Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai … all ceded ground over the last twelve months.

Those seeking the brightest light in 2018 need look no further than our own backyard. Fiat Chrysler climbed the sales chart in a big way. Predictably, that charge was led by Jeep. The numbers put forth by the Trail Rated brand did hold one very surprising statistic, however.

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QOTD: Your Prediction for 2019?

365 days. A year. One trip around the sun. Whatever you call it, we’re here: the last day of 2018.

Here’s where we let you look into the TTAC Magic 8 Ball and ask for your predictions of auto industry news you think will happen in 2019.

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QOTD: Best Wishes for Future Success?

It’s that special holiday time of year again. For a few short weeks, people go out of their way to be nice to others, and to wish one another the best in the upcoming new year. While the niceness still abounds, we want to know which car manufacturer receives your well-wishes for the future.

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Analyze This: Cars of 2018

Year-end lists are great. Music-themed roundups of the last twelve months rock, no pun intended. You know what’s the best, though? Exactly. Stories of this ilk which focus on cars.

Because he is a total anorak with an unhealthy interest in data, your author kept a spreadsheet of the 39 local press fleet machines which passed through his slovenly hands during 2018, not counting First Drives occurring in other locations.

Microsoft Excel is responsible for indigestion for many, but fear not: we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. What rig was the most powerful? Which one was the lardbutt? Are there any performance trends emerging? Did Excel make Matthew’s computer crash again?

The answer to that last one is an emphatic “yes.”

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QOTD: Your L.A. Winner?

The Los Angeles Auto Show — a title your author will always use in reference to the annual soiree, despite the show’s repeated attempts to rebrand it as “AutoMobility LA” — is over for another year. Shrimp consumed, after parties attended, the works of it.

As befits California, there were no shortage of stunners. On the other hand, as befitting its near-Thanksgiving time slot, there were also a few turkeys.

What was your winner? Betcha can’t guess mine.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: 2018 Midsize Luxury Cars Nobody Buys

The Buy/Drive/Burn series has ventured into unpopular cars territory a time or two before. Most recently we discussed three large American sedans that are most unpopular indeed (two of those three are now on their way out). Today we pick a Buy amongst three lower-volume midsize offerings from second-tier luxury brands.

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October 2018 U.S. Auto Sales: Last Month Brought More Treats Than Tricks for Most Automakers

More mainstream brands saw year-over-year rises in sales volume last month than those who endured a sojourn into the red. It will surprise exactly no one to learn those who did earn sales growth largely did so on the backs of trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.

Nowhere was this more apparent than at Genesis, a brand peddling some excellent cars but – for the moment – completely bereft of an offering in America’s hottest segment. Fiat Chrysler, on the other hand, had a particularly strong October thanks to its top-heaviness in each of those markets.

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2019 Acura ILX First Drive Review - Third Time Lucky?

Acura’s entry level ILX is redesigned for the 2019 model year. With new styling and additional technology on board, it fulfills the brand’s desire to display a cohesive design language across all models. But is this refresh of a refresh any good? We headed to Columbus to find out.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The $40,000 Luxury Sedan Answer for 2018

Perusing the responses to Matthew Guy’s QOTD post about the ideal $40,000 vehicle, three sedans kept surfacing in the comments. All three were compact, all of them had engines of identical displacement, and all of them were restrained by a price ceiling — meaning no optional extras.

Today we’ll narrow the $40,000 field to these three, and see which one you’d buy with your own bank’s money.

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U.S. Auto Sales, September 2018: An Athletic Fiat Chrysler Leapfrogs Ford

Dealerships across America were awash in red last month, both from the ink spilling across financial ledgers and the anger emitting from corner offices. Just about every marque was off in September and not by insignificant amounts. This can be blamed on a number of factors, not the least of which was last year’s pent up demand after a devastating Hurricane Harvey and this year’s Hurricane Florence having the opposite effect.

One ray of sunshine? Fiat Chrysler, which finally got its Ram production in gear and started delivering snazzy new pickup to eager customers in a big way. Of course, having the perpetually strong-selling Jeep brand on the books didn’t hurt, either.

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2018 Audi RS3 Review - Wizard of Aahs

It’s nice to be born into good stock. Having the correct last name or access to a hefty trust fund certainly gives one a leg up on their competition. We see this in business, Hollywood … and car lines, too.

Not everyone makes the best of the hand they’re dealt. Plenty of famous sons and daughters have frittered away their chance at greatness assuming they can coast on the accomplishments of their forebears instead of doing, y’know, actual work.

The newly christened Audi Sport branch of the Haus der Ingolstadt trades upon its 80-year trail of success on motorsport. The R8, the RS5, and the fabulously bonkers RS7 all live up to family expectations with fabulous driving dynamics and a healthy dose of performance. Can their new little brother, the compact and slight manic RS3 do the same? Or has it simply been given a corner office without earning it?

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2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon's Teaser Shows 'TransBrake,' License Plate Mystery

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s teasers continue, with this week’s spot showing yet another way the Demon will launch like a bat out of… well, hell.

The new Demon will sport a new feature that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles calls TransBrake. According to the automaker, TransBrake does exactly what it says: locks the output shaft of the automatic transmission to keep the vehicle stationary until launch.

Apparently, it does its job well.

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2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R Is Greener Than Its Passengers' Gills

With news guaranteed to excite tire retailers everywhere, Affalterbach is introducing an even hotter version of its low-slung GT, dubbed the GT R.

The 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R is billed as a more extreme way to get your AMG fix, with 577 horsepower, active aero, rear steering, and the owner’s manual carved into your face with a hunting knife.

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Audi's 2016 Plans Don't Include Wind Tunnel, Do Include Q2, Q5

Audi on Monday delayed construction of a new wind tunnel because of the company’s massive diesel scandal, but announced that it would invest nearly $3.3 billion for 2016 — including bringing to market a new Q2, an updated Q5 and a SUV based on the concept shown above in two years.

The automaker’s chief, Rupert Stadler, affirmed the company would release a battery-powered vehicle by 2018, inspired by the e-tron quattro concept revealed at Frankfurt.

No word if the delayed wind tunnel would have allowed Audi to develop real mirrors.

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Subaru to Build Three-Row Crossover in Indiana

The Tribeca having driven into the sunset, Subaru will build its replacement in Lafayette, Ind. beginning in 2018 as its fourth model assembled in the U.S.

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  • THX1136 @Matt: Totally agree. Buying a 'used' cat is not the same as buying a used one. I would also suspect that the asking price would not be in the $800 range. Unfortunately there are folks out there that care not for their fellow man and would happily 'make a profit' at the customers expense (both literally and figuratively).
  • Mike Beranek "Fuel Economy, U.S.17 city / 19 highway / 18 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)":What in the world are these people thinking?
  • ToolGuy "We’ll see what happens with Haas." I wonder what happened with Haas?
  • ToolGuy Auction is 2 days away now. I've been setting aside some spare change here and there - have you? (You forgot again, didn't you?)
  • Luke42 I like the Metris quite a bit, but I never bought one.Two problems kept me from pulling the trigger:[list=1][*]It was expensive for what it was.[/*][*]For the price they were asking, it needed to have a plug for me to buy it.[/*][/list=1]I wanted a minivan that could tow, and I test drove one and liked it. The Mercedes dealer stocked both cargo versions and conversion vans. It was a nice vehicle, and I really wanted one for a while.This is the inevitable fate of cars that I like, but don't actually buy.